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Music History Timeline

  • 500

    Medieval Period Start

  • 1030

    Guido of Arezzo's "Micrologus"

    This was also known as the "Little Treatise." Guido of Arezzo developed the Guidonian Hand which was a form of solmization that associated each note of the scale with a different part of the fingers. This also had an impact on the creation of the Hexachord system. Other musical developments that came from "Micrologus" were the 4-line staff, the idea of relative pitch, and sight singing.
  • 1098

    Hildegard of Bingen Birth Date

  • 1179

    Hildegard of Bingen Death Date

  • 1323

    Ars Nova Treatise

    Ars Nova translates to "New Art" and it represented the replacement of Ars Antiqua (Old Art). The innovation that came along with the Ars Nova Treatise was the concept of time and prolation within music. A system was developed to define how long each note was and how it would be counted in music. Some of the different terms associated with this were Breve, Semibreve, and Minim. It separated perfect and imperfect time, as well as major and minor prolation.
  • 1450

    Medieval Period End

  • 1450

    Renaissance Period Start

  • 1485

    Josquin’s "Ave Maria ... virgo serena" Motet

  • 1529

    Martin Luther Chorale "Ein feste burg (A Mighty Fortress..)"

  • 1538

    Arcadelt Madrigal "Il bianco e dolce cigno"

  • 1567

    Palestrina "Pope Marcellus Mass"

    This work is significant because Palestrina's style became a model for the music that followed it. His style is still an example in textbooks today on the subject of counterpoint.
    Palestrina's Rules:
    1. Moves in mostly stepwise motion with dissonances resolving on strong beats
    2. Dissonance is allowed between strong beats as long as it is in a stepwise fashion or suspension
    3. The "Palestrina Arch" is used by following leaps with stepwise motion in the opposite direction
  • Victoria "Missa O magnum mysterium"

  • Gabrieli "Sonata pian’e forte"

    Where: St. Mark's Basilica
    Significance: This was the first piece to use dynamics and write them into the composition. It was also the first piece that distinguished which instruments play which parts.
  • Renaissance Period End

  • Baroque Era Start

  • Monteverdi's "L’Orfeo"

  • First Public Concerts in England

  • JS Bach Birth Date

  • Antonio Vivaldi's "L’Estro Armonico"

    This concerto was significant because it paved the way for all future concertos. It specifically defined the idea of the orchestra performing in unison, and many other ideas for the structure of different concerto movements. This was one of his most famous and most successful works, along with "The Four Seasons."
  • Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier" (volume 1)

    The main goal of "The Well-Tempered Clavier" was to introduce musicians to all 24 keys and scales. This was such a big deal because Bach was the first composer to realize the importance of the scales within music. He realized that knowing all 24 major and minor keys was the foundation of musical knowledge and this is still true to this day. This allowed musicians to play in all keys and on all different instruments because of the wide range it presented.
  • Rameau's "Traité de l’harmonie"

    The english translation is "Treatise on Harmony" and this was the most influential of all theoretical works because it became the basis for teaching the concept of functional harmony.
    The main 5 innovations are as follows:
    - Defined the root of the chord and the inversions.
    - Defined triads and 7th chords.
    - Defined the dominant, subdominant, and the tonic as the main pillars of harmony.
    - Identified V7-I as the strongest resolution.
    - Defined the concept of a fundamental bassline.
  • Franz Joseph Haydn Birth Date

  • Handel's "Messiah"

  • Baroque Era End

  • JS Bach Death Date

  • WA Mozart Birth Date

  • Viennese Classical Period Start

  • Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges as director of Concerts des Amateurs

    Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was the director of the Concerts des Amateurs from 1773-1781. This was referred to as one of the finest orchestras in Europe. This was extremely important in all of music history because Saint-George was an African American man directing the leading orchestra in Paris. He was even referred to as "Le Mozart noir" or the "black Mozart" because of his extraordinary talents. President John Adams even called him "the most accomplished man in Europe."
  • Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

  • WA Mozart Death Date

  • Haydn's Symphony No. 94 "Surprise" (premiere date in London)

  • Viennese Classical Period End

  • Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor

  • Franz Joseph Haydn Death Date

  • Schubert Erlkönig

  • Nicolo Paganini 24 Caprices for Violin, op.1

  • Berlioz "Symphonie fantastique"

  • Period: to

    Frederic Chopin Mazurkas Op.7

  • Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel "Das Jahr"

  • Period: to

    Louis Moreau Gottschalk "Souvenir de Porto Rico"

  • Mussorgsky "Pictures at an Exhibition"

  • Bizet "Carmen"

  • Wagner "Der Ring des Nibelungen"

  • Brahms' Symphony No.4

  • Mahler Symphony No.1

  • Dvorak Symphony No. 9

  • Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" (published)

  • Jean Sibelius' "Finlandia" (premiere)

  • Claude Debussy's "Voiles” from Préludes Book 1

  • Arnold Schönberg's "Pierrot Lunaire"

  • Igor Stravinsky's "Le sacre du Printemps" (premiere)

  • Arnold Schönberg's Piano Suite, Op.25

  • Louis Armstrong's "Hotter Than That"

  • George and Ira Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" (published)

  • Shostakovich Symphony No.5 premiere

  • Prokofiev "Alexander Nevsky" (film)

  • Duke Ellington's "Cottontail"

  • Olivier Messiaen's "Quatuor pour le fine du temps"

  • Bela Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

  • Copland "Appalachian Spring"

    Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.
  • John Cage's 4’33’’

  • Edward Varese "Poeme Electronique"

    Composition dates are 1957-1958, and it premiered at the Brussels Exposition (World's Fair) in 1958.
  • Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"

  • George Crumb's "Ancient Voices of Children"

  • John Adams' "Short Ride in a Fast Machine"